Bert Koenders (Photo: Rijksoverheid.nl/Wikimedia Commons) Bert Koenders (Photo: Rijksoverheid.nl/Wikimedia Commons)
Dutch FM hammers U.S. on LGBT "discrimination" laws
In Washington on Thursday, Minister Bert Koenders of Foreign Affairs criticized legislation in some American states that discriminate against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people. He referred to a law in North Carolina that bans transgenders from using the bathroom of their gender and a law in Mississippi that states that companies may refuse their services and products to LGBT's. "The Netherlands will always speak out against such discrimination, which is prohibited by international convention that the U.S. joined. This legislation goes against what we stand for", Koenders said at a meeting about LGBT rights at the Dutch embassy in Washington. Randy Berry, the U.S. special envoy for LGBT rights, also participated in the meeting. "The U.S. is one of our most important allies in the field of protection of human rights world wide. The Netherlands hopes that this legislation will be reconsidered as soon as possible." Koenders continued. At the Netherlands initiative, the European Union issued a statement on Thursday calling on American to reconsider the legislation. The Netherlands' concerns will also be given through to the American government, a spokesperson for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said to Dutch newspaper AD. Many Americans are also dissatisfied with these laws. The New York Times reports that president Barack Obama ordered schools to allow transgenders to choose what bathroom to use. A few weeks ago Dutch LGBT groups asked the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to issue travel advice over America, warning LGBT travelers about these discriminatory laws.